Karma Gone Bad: How I Learned to Love Mangos, Bollywood and Water Buffalo
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In the tradition of Holy Cow and Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven, a fascinating travel memoir of finding yourself in the India of rickshaws and rainy seasons.
Jenny was miserable, and it was all India's fault...until she realized it wasn't.
When Jenny's husband gets transferred to India for work, she looks forward to a new life filled with glamorous expat friends and exciting adventures. What she doesn't expect is endless bouts of food poisoning, buffalo in the streets, and crippling loneliness in one of the most densely populated countries in the world.
Ten thousand miles away from home, Jenny struggles to fight off depression and anger as her sense of self and her marriage begin to unravel. But after months of bitterness and takeout pizza, Jenny realizes what the universe has been trying to tell her all along: India doesn't need to change. She does. Equal parts frustration, absurdity, and revelation, this is the true story of a Starbucks-loving city girl finding beauty in the chaos and making her way in the land of karma.
The white, long-legged birds that perched on top of them in the daytime made the buffalo seem friendlier somehow. When they weren’t charging the car or sleeping in the middle of Road #2 during rush hour, the stocky black beasts were even sort of…cute. “I knew you liking city buffalo, Madam! ” Venkat crowed when he caught me smiling out the window at a particularly benevolent-looking one chewing grass near the Jasmine Heights gates. There was something peaceful about all that rhythmic chewing. “Not liking, Venkat,” I corrected.
No, thanks. With my luck, I’ll get sick again. Fake vodka parasites or something. ” We’d bought a bottle of Indian-manufactured Smirnoff from the liquor shack on the side of Road #1 last week. I’d been hoping to make a batch of vodka-infused lemonade to kick off what would have been Memorial Day weekend back in the States. Sundar had finally mastered the art of barbecued chicken, which he cooked for our small expat crowd. Three hours in the freezer and the contents of the vodka bottle had frozen solid.
My math skills had always been pathetic. I counted on my fingers, did some division. So that was like…twenty bucks. For a nine-month-old magazine. That I couldn’t cook for dinner. *** For two weeks, Jay worked like crazy, clocking fourteen-hour days while he learned the ins and outs of his new role in Region 10. He came back to the flat looking overwhelmed and exhausted, his mind consumed with the details of the task before him. “The boys have a day off tomorrow,” Alexis said, stopping by to visit one afternoon after she and Younus had dropped Peter off at work.
I grabbed a shopping basket. The woman next to me, exquisite in a red and gold sari, delicate arms covered with bangles, examined a fresh crate of mangos. “Are they any good? ” I asked, reaching for one and offering a tentative smile. I’d never been good at choosing fruit; they all looked the same to me. Jay always complained that I wouldn’t recognize a decent pear if it fell off the shelf and hit me on the head. “You need them like this,” she answered, holding out a smooth, thick-skinned green mango.
I let out a huge breath I hadn’t realized I was holding. I stared at the keypad, trying to compose an appropriately sarcastic response that would both mask how scared I’d been and communicate how stupid I thought he was for going out there in the first place. But in my mind, I kept seeing those flashes of light, the shower of sparks falling from the sky. A celebration of nothing, and everything. Confirmation we were all still here. I saw, I typed back. It was beautiful. Chapter 9 “I just don’t get why everything has to be complicated,” I said.